Fluid retention or edema is a serious and significant problem in and of itself. But abnormalities in how the body handles tissue fluids and vascular fluids can greatly affect the body’s overall function and cause a great number of other symptoms as well. The following symptoms have been seen to be related to fluid retention in that they often worsen when the fluid retention worsens and they tend to resolve when the fluid retention resolves with normalization of body temperature patterns: migraine headaches, numbness and tingling of the hands, panic attacks, palpitations, lightheadedness/dizziness, sweating, musculoskeletal aches and pains, and others.

The fluid retention is commonly seen in the hands of patients who often find it difficult to take their rings off and who will frequently not be able to wear their rings until their fluid retention dissipates. Their feet and ankles may also swell, and may even extend above the knees. The patient may develop pitting edema. It is referred to as pitting edema because when one presses a finger against the lower part of the leg, it leaves a “pit” or dent at the spot where the finger was pressing. There are people who have several different sizes of shoes that will fit them according to the amount of swelling they have on a particular day. In some cases, I have seen the fluid retention to be so severe that such a patient might scratch a leg against a piece of furniture and although it may not bleed, they sometimes notice tissue fluid collecting along the scratch such that it may even drain down the outside of the leg. It sounds incredible, but seeing is believing.

Periorbital edema, which is fluid retention around the eyes, is a classic sign of decreased thyroid system function. DTSF patients can have thick tongues giving them difficulty in forming words.

The severity of the fluid retention correlates very well with the body temperature patterns. The fluid retention is most severe when the body temperature is too low, too high, or unsteady, which is characteristic of all the other symptoms of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Increased fluid retention often correlates with increased body temperature fluctuations. Likewise, as body temperature patterns become more and more steady over a period of days, the fluid retention usually improves.

I believe that abnormal body temperature patterns (especially low temperatures) cause the muscular tone of the vessels to decrease, making blood vessels more leaky, which results in tissue fluid retention. Proper thyroid hormone treatment can be used to normalize the temperature patterns, causing them to be closer to 98.6 and causing them to be more steady. When this is accomplished, it improves vascular tone of the blood vessels in the body causing them to be less leaky and enabling them to more effectively prevent too much fluid from leaking into the tissues and to more effectively carry tissue fluid back into circulation. I believe that this one aspect of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome itself, has profound physiological consequences when one considers how it can influence so many other symptoms.